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Schiller's Aesthetical Essays

Schiller's Aesthetical Essays

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The Aesthetical Essays of Frederich Schiller
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country beforedownloading or redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it.Do not change or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at thebottom of this file. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the filemay be used. You can also find out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to getinvolved.
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**EBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These EBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers*****Title: The Aesthetical EssaysAuthor: Frederich SchillerRelease Date: Oct, 2004 [EBook #6798] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file wasfirst posted on January 31, 2003]Edition: 10Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ASCII*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK AESTHETICAL ESSAYS OF SCHILLER ***This eBook was produced by Tapio Riikonen and David Widger, widger@cecomet.netAESTHETICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL ESSAYSby Frederick SchillerCONTENTS:INTRODUCTIONVOCABULARY OF TERMINOLOGYLETTERS ON THE AESTHETICAL EDUCATION OF MANAESTHETICAL ESSAYS:−−
The Aesthetical Essays of Frederich Schiller1
THE MORAL UTILITY OF AESTHETIC MANNERS ON THE SUBLIME THE PATHETIC ON GRACEAND DIGNITY ON DIGNITY ON THE NECESSARY LIMITATIONS IN THE USE OF BEAUTY ANDFORM REFLECTIONS ON THE USE OF THE VULGAR AND LOW ELEMENTS IN WORKS OF ARTDETACHED REFLECTIONS ON DIFFERENT QUESTIONS OF AESTHETICS ON SIMPLE ANDSENTIMENTAL POETRY THE STAGE AS A MORAL INSTITUTION ON THE TRAGIC ART OF THECAUSE OF THE PLEASURE WE DERIVE FROM TRAGIC OBJECTSINTRODUCTION.The special subject of the greater part of the letters and essays of Schiller contained in this volume isAesthetics; and before passing to any remarks on his treatment of the subject it will be useful to offer a fewobservations on the nature of this topic, and on its treatment by the philosophical spirit of different ages.First, then, aesthetics has for its object the vast realm of the beautiful, and it may be most adequately definedas the philosophy of art or of the fine arts. To some the definition may seem arbitrary, as excluding thebeautiful in nature; but it will cease to appear so if it is remarked that the beauty which is the work of art ishigher than natural beauty, because it is the offspring of the mind. Moreover, if, in conformity with a certainschool of modern philosophy, the mind be viewed as the true being, including all in itself, it must be admittedthat beauty is only truly beautiful when it shares in the nature of mind, and is mind's offspring.Viewed in this light, the beauty of nature is only a reflection of the beauty of the mind, only an imperfectbeauty, which as to its essence is included in that of the mind. Nor has it ever entered into the mind of anythinker to develop the beautiful in natural objects, so as to convert it into a science and a system. The field of natural beauty is too uncertain and too fluctuating for this purpose. Moreover, the relation of beauty in natureand beauty in art forms a part of the science of aesthetics, and finds again its proper place.But it may be urged that art is not worthy of a scientific treatment. Art is no doubt an ornament of our life anda charm to the fancy; but has it a more serious side? When compared with the absorbing necessities of humanexistence, it might seem a luxury, a superfluity, calculated to enfeeble the heart by the assiduous worship of beauty, and thus to be actually prejudicial to the true interest of practical life. This view seems to be largelycountenanced by a dominant party in modern times, and practical men, as they are styled, are only too readyto take this superficial view of the office of art.Many have indeed undertaken to defend art on this score, and to show that, far from being a mere luxury, ithas serious and solid advantages. It has been even apparently exaggerated in this respect, and represented as akind of mediator between reason and sense, between inclination and duty, having as its mission the work of reconciling the conflicting elements in the human heart. A strong trace of this view will be found in Schiller,especially in all that he says about the play−instinct in his "Aesthetical Letters."Nevertheless, art is worthy of science; aesthetics is a true science, and the office of art is as high as thatassigned to it in the pages of Schiller. We admit that art viewed only as an ornament and a charm is no longerfree, but a slave. But this is a perversion of its proper end. Science has to be considered as free in its aim andin its means, and it is only free when liberated from all other considerations; it rises up to truth, which is itsonly real object, and can alone fully satisfy it. Art in like manner is alone truly art when it is free andindependent, when it solves the problem of its high destination−−that problem whether it has to be placedbeside religion and philosophy as being nothing else than a particular mode or a special form of revealing Godto consciousness, and of expressing the deepest interests of human nature and the widest truths of the humanmind.For it is in their works of art that the nations have imprinted their favorite thoughts and their richest intuitions,and not unfrequently the fine arts are the only means by which we can penetrate into the secrets of theirwisdom and the mysteries of their religion.
The Aesthetical Essays of Frederich Schiller2
It is made a reproach to art that it produces its effects by appearance and illusion; but can it be established thatappearance is objectionable? The phenomena of nature and the acts of human life are nothing more thanappearances, and are yet looked upon as constituting a true reality; for this reality must be sought for beyondthe objects perceived immediately by the sense, the substance and speech and principle underlying all thingsmanifesting itself in time and space through these real existences, but preserving its absolute existence initself. Now, the very special object and aim of art is to represent the action and development of this universalforce. In nature this force or principle appears confounded with particular interests and transitorycircumstances, mixed up with what is arbitrary in the passions and in individual wills. Art sets the truth freefrom the illusory and mendacious forms of this coarse, imperfect world, and clothes it in a nobler, purer formcreated by the mind itself. Thus the forms of art, far from being mere appearances, perfectly illusory, containmore reality and truth than the phenomenal existences of the real world. The world of art is truer than that of history or nature.Nor is this all: the representations of art are more expressive and transparent than the phenomena of the realworld or the events of history. The mind finds it harder to pierce through the hard envelop of nature andcommon life than to penetrate into works of art.Two more reflections appear completely to meet the objection that art or aesthetics is not entitled to the nameof science.It will be generally admitted that the mind of man has the power of considering itself, of making itself its ownobject and all that issues from its activity; for thought constitutes the essence of the mind. Now art and itswork, as creations of the mind, are themselves of a spiritual nature. In this respect art is much nearer to themind than nature. In studying the works of art the mind has to do with itself, with what proceeds from itself,and is itself.Thus art finds its highest confirmation in science.Nor does art refuse a philosophical treatment because it is dependent on caprice, and subject to no law. If itshighest aim be to reveal to the human consciousness the highest interest of the mind, it is evident that thesubstance or contents of the representations are not given up to the control of a wild and irregular imagination.It is strictly determined by the ideas that concern our intelligence and by the laws of their development,whatever may be the inexhaustible variety of forms in which they are produced. Nor are these forms arbitrary,for every form is not fitted to express every idea. The form is determined by the substance which it has to suit.A further consideration of the true nature of beauty, and therefore of the vocation of the artist, will aid us stillmore in our endeavor to show the high dignity of art and of aesthetics. The history of philosophy presents uswith many theories on the nature of the beautiful; but as it would lead us too far to examine them all, we shallonly consider the most important among them. The coarsest of these theories defines the beautiful as thatwhich pleases the senses. This theory, issuing from the philosophy of sensation of the school of Locke andCondillac, only explains the idea and the feeling of the beautiful by disfiguring it. It is entirely contradicted byfacts. For it converts it into desire, but desire is egotistical and insatiable, while admiration is respectful, and isits own satisfaction without seeking possession.Others have thought the beautiful consists in proportion, and no doubt this is one of the conditions of beauty,but only one. An ill−proportioned object cannot be beautiful, but the exact correspondence of parts, as ingeometrical figures, does not constitute beauty.A noted ancient theory makes beauty consist in the perfect suitableness of means to their end. In this case thebeautiful is not the useful, it is the suitable; and the latter idea is more akin to that of beauty. But it has not thetrue character of the beautiful. Again, order is a less mathematical idea than proportion, but it does not explainwhat is free and flowing in certain beauties.
The Aesthetical Essays of Frederich Schiller3

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